Division 2 promotion for USL, Colorado Springs Switchbacks should improve player caliber

January 10, 2017 Updated: January 11, 2017 at 8:12 am
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photo - Switchbacks David Armstrong and Josh Phillips (left to right) agonize after losing in the playoffs to the Vancouver Whitecaps at Switchbacks Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. The Colorado Springs Switchbacks lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1, ending their season. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette
Switchbacks David Armstrong and Josh Phillips (left to right) agonize after losing in the playoffs to the Vancouver Whitecaps at Switchbacks Stadium on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016. The Colorado Springs Switchbacks lost to the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1, ending their season. photo by Jerilee Bennett,The Gazette 

The United Soccer League's recent provisional promotion from Division 3 to D2 by the U.S. Soccer Federation adds more credibility to the growing league and its franchises, including the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

It could help the third-year franchise attract higher-quality players and give fans a better team to follow than the previous two playoff squads.

"It increases the level of competition and the level of player that we are attracting," captain Luke Vercollone said. "(Officially being one step below MLS) is very appealing not only for Americans but internationals as well because a lot of people want to live in the U.S. and play at the highest level they can.

"It is a slight jump but it definitely makes an impact on the performance on the field and the level of expectations and standards across the league."

One of those standards is stadium capacity, where Switchbacks Stadium (5,150 capacity) lags.

The USL announced franchises should have 8-10,000-seat facilities by 2020. Having that met would help the USL retain its D2 status when the provisional status is lifted in 3-4 years.

"The city will have to partner with us to decide if they want us to be (Division) 2 or not," club president Nick Ragain said.

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